January 25, 2022

How I made a DIY remote mechanical cable release for my large format cameras

A microcontroller
A direct actuator that will push the traditional cable release
A trigger device to send a signal to the microcontroller

If you have been reading my blog site or seeing my YouTube channel, you would know that I do primarily big format photography. I frequently take my own self portrait for utilizing my pneumatic cable release that has a long cable and air bulb release.

Nevertheless, I have actually constantly been thinking about how to make a more modern kind of remote cable television release and for this reason this job.

I browsed the internet for ideas on how others have actually made their own cable release and see what are the various elements they have actually utilized. Mostly they will make use of

So I decided to include my own taste to my own remote cable release.


ESP32 advancement board

For the microcontroller, I chose to use an ESP32 microcontroller development board. The ESP32 chip has actually been popular with IoT devices. It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth abilities. Nevertheless, for this task, I will utilize the Bluetooth function to do the interaction.

SG90 Micro Servo motor

The servo motor signal will be coming from a GPIO output pin from the esp32 board. The signal will have the motor rotate by a certain angle and in which instructions. This will be equated into a direct movement utilizing the rack and pinion.

For the linear actuator, I found a 3D design on the Internet you may utilize of a small Servo motor (SG90 mini servo motor) and a 3D printed rack and pinion. The direct rack will press a plunger of the mechanical cable release which in turn will journey the shutter on the lens/camera.


For the project case, I modified it out of a job case template that I downloaded from this Andreas Spiess channel. I customize it to my requirements: primarily to make some holes for the cable release, USB port of the ESP32 board, the mounting holes for the servo motor and the esp32 board.

The connections are quite basic, we have the battery power (4x AA batteries) to power both the servo motor and the esp32 board. A power switch will be used to switch on and off the circuit. When not in use as the servo motor will also draw existing when not moving, the circuit needs to be off.


Here is the easy electronic style diagram of my remote cable release.

Exposed view of case

As soon as the parts are gathered, soldered and 3D printed, they are assembled together. The mechanical cable television release is placed into the case first otherwise it will be obstructed by the other parts.

Remote Unit connected to a large format lens

I use the Arduino platform to create the esp32 program and the MIT App Inventor to produce the mobile app. He started shooting utilizing film video cameras utilizing the 35mm film format.

About the Author.

The circuit needs to be off when not in use as the servo motor will also draw existing when not moving.

On mode– instant trigger of the cable television release (shutter speed set on lens/camera).

This is an intriguing project that permits me to develop my electronics and coding skills. There are a couple of issues that can be even more enhanced on:.

I use the Arduino platform to produce the esp32 program and the MIT App Inventor to create the mobile app. As I am no professional programmer, Im sure that they are a great deal of improvements that can be made. I will share both codes on my GitHub as open source for anybody who is interested to utilize or improve.

For the microcontroller, I decided to use an ESP32 microcontroller development board. For this job, I will use the Bluetooth function to do the interaction.

I designed a mobile app that uses Bluetooth to communicate with the main unit. On the mobile app, there are 4 functions.

Time Bulb mode– set the period in seconds and when the button is pressed, the shutter will be immediately set off and launched at the end of the time. (shutter speed set to B mode).

Make the unit even smaller sized.
Have a way to mount this on an electronic camera hotshoe/cold shoe.
A more powerful servo motor.
A better rechargeable battery source.
A digital output to activate some digital cams.

Handbook Bulb mode– at the first press, the shutter will be triggered and release at the 2nd press (shutter speed set to B mode).

He started shooting utilizing movie cams using the 35mm film format. After dabbling in digital photography, he discovered himself being drawn back to movie photography a couple of years ago. This time he is drawn in by the big unfavorable size offered by large format camera.

Timer 10 secs postpone mode, the shutter will be trigger after 10 secs. This is best for self portrait shots.



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